Beyond neurovascular coupling, role of astrocytes in the regulation of vascular tone

J. A. Filosa, H. W. Morrison, J. A. Iddings, W. Du, K. J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


The brain possesses two intricate mechanisms that fulfill its continuous metabolic needs: cerebral autoregulation, which ensures constant cerebral blood flow over a wide range of arterial pressures and functional hyperemia, which ensures rapid delivery of oxygen and glucose to active neurons. Over the past decade, a number of important studies have identified astrocytes as key intermediaries in neurovascular coupling (NVC), the mechanism by which active neurons signal blood vessels to change their diameter. Activity-dependent increases in astrocytic Ca2+ activity are thought to contribute to the release of vasoactive substances that facilitate arteriole vasodilation. A number of vasoactive signals have been identified and their role on vessel caliber assessed both in vitro and in vivo. In this review, we discuss mechanisms implicating astrocytes in NVC-mediated vascular responses, limitations encountered as a result of the challenges in maintaining all the constituents of the neurovascular unit intact and deliberate current controversial findings disputing a main role for astrocytes in NVC. Finally, we briefly discuss the potential role of pericytes and microglia in NVC-mediated processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-109
Number of pages14
StatePublished - May 26 2016


  • Astrocyte
  • Calcium
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Myogenic tone
  • Neurovascular coupling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond neurovascular coupling, role of astrocytes in the regulation of vascular tone'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this